Altron says it's innocent of tender collusion including Zuma’s son
The company says neither itself nor Altech UEC were involved in collusion in the government’s set-top box tender
Altron issued a statement on Friday claiming it was innocent of collusion in the government’s digital terrestrial television (DTT) set-top box tender.
The electronics group said it was responding "to recent allegations in the media", presumably a Sunday Times story that said President Jacob Zuma’s son Mxolisi had solicited a R54m bribe from Altron’s subsidiary Altech UEC to swing the contract its way.
"In August this year, in response to certain media reports, Altron initiated an internal investigation which found no wrong doing on the part of Altech UEC," Friday’s statement said.
Altech UEC manufactures decoders used by Naspers’s pay-TV arm, MultiChoice.
Altron said it is in the process of selling Altech UEC, but the deal may be delayed due to competition authorities investigating collusion regarding the DTT set-top box tender.
"Subsequent to the Competition Commission dawn raid [in November], the company appointed an external legal firm, Bowmans, to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations. Altron is expecting the Bowmans final report at the end of January 2018. In the meantime, Altron is providing its full co-operation to the Competition Commission," the statement said.
Altron did not mention Mxolisi Zuma, but referred to "third parties" which approached Altech UEC after it pitched for the tender in 2014.
"Although there was correspondence between Altech UEC and these third parties, the company took a commercial decision not to enter into agreements with any of these entitles. No monies or fees were paid to any individual or party related to these engagements."
Altron said its subsidiary was ultimately not included in the group of companies that were awarded the tender in March 2015.